South Westland Gems – Mountain biking the Faultline


Swish, swoop, hoot, holler, twist, turn – wahoo!  That is the sound of four mountain bikers whipping their way down the Faultline track at Franz Josef.  There is something for everyone in Glacier Country – and mountain biking is not to be left out.

Ziggy on faultline mtb track south westland

Who would have thought you could have so much fun on just under 2kms of single track – well you can cos this is one seriously fun little track.  It’s a downhill track and has been built with love and passion by two – yes only two residents of Franz Josef township.  Unbelievably there is now only one – ok so not one resident left in Franz Josef…. but just one of the two track builders still living here and he diligently maintains this track, going up and checking after any heavy rainfall or high winds and clearing the track ensuring it is safe for anyone wanting to use it – Gerard you rock!  Thankfully more people are slowly coming on board and helping out which is great for the little community.

Nico and Ziggy ready to run

mountain biking Franz Josef mtb track south westland

Located just on the outskirts of the Franz Josef village in one of the new subdivisions,  Faultline (aptly named as Franz Josef township sits on one of NZ’s major fault lines…..) is primo single track and meanders through prime native bush for approx. 1.7 kms with some great twists and turns.  It was built for speed but designed so that a beginner can ride it, be warned, there are some sharp corners!! Fun though and that is what we are here for…….

south westland mountain biking

Stephen on ribcage mountain biking south westland

Currently there are two structures built to the side of the main track, one is intermediate (blue square) and is called “Uplift” and the other is advanced (black diamond) and is called “Ribcage”.  As for all good structures, there are “chicken run” options and the structures are well-marked for safety.  Stephen nails the ribcage each run although he says even doing it so many times (five in all cos needed him to redo for photos tee hee), he said it didn’t get any easier – adrenalin levels still at an all time high.  Photos don’t really do it justice – this thing has a mean drop and is off-line so you have to get it just right.  I’m sure I can do it…… but maybe next time.  Brad admitted he let out a little – just a little, squeal the first time he went over it.

mountain biking south westland

jan mountain biking south westland

The Faultline is a great short ride that can be done in laps – thanks to the gentle climb back to the top each time it helps bring the heart rate up and you are rewarded with a fun, flowing downhill.  Feeling the effects of a bit of walking lately we could only manage three laps – but each one leaving you wanting more.  It was well past lunchtime though and our tummies were rumbling so time to head back to refuel for the afternoon’s other adventures.  We will be back though…….

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They love getting out exploring the many wonders that make up the West Coast – usually with their faithful friends Nico and Ziggy in toe.  Check out their other blog postings or activities page on their website for other ideas on things to see and do when you are visiting the West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
This entry was posted in cycling, dogs, Mountain biking New Zealand, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, outdoors, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to South Westland Gems – Mountain biking the Faultline

  1. bulldog says:

    Daring… sounds full of excitement though… another NZ good spot… carry one like this and I’ll have to emigrate… oh no you don’t have the big five… sorry it’ll only be a visit one day…

  2. I am curious since I am in Alaska and many of the glaciers here have receded considerably since I lived her in the 80s. How are the New Zealand glaciers doing? I remember how unique it was to find a glacier in a semi-tropical setting. –Curt

    • coastingnz says:

      Hi Curt – yes our glacier at Franz Josef is also fast receeding now. Was advancing over the last couple of years but last year and this year it is receeding, so much so that they don’t do guided walks from the valley floor any more – have to get a helicopter up onto the ice and hike from there. Will be interesting to see how they go – we’ve had a cold start to winter this year with some good snow dumpings already so we need a couple of years like that and it will help turn things around again. The signage at the glacier on the walks is really interesting – shows photos of the movement over the last 100 years – receeding and advancing.

  3. Chris says:

    This is a great documentary about receding glaciers using time-lapse photography http://www.chasingice.com/

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